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It's the last Friday of August and I think this has been the weirdest summer of my life. It feels like it's been forever since I left Denver, but it's only been a couple of months. We get to visit in just a few weeks and I can't wait to be there. And I may have to listen to it on the radio, but obviously I'll be rooting for the Buffs in tonight's CU vs. CSU game. Man, I miss Colorado today. Anyway, here are some of my favorite things from The Internet lately - just for you. Enjoy!

I have high hopes for this movie. The book was outstanding.

This is fascinating.

One of the coolest ice bucket challenges I've seen.

"This is exasperating!" Hilarious.

These are some of the coolest people we've met in Seattle. Give if you can!

If you're not watching Bob's Burgers, you're missing out. Honestly.

Have At It: Garlic Cheese Bread + Croutons

My dad is a weeper.

I’m not sure when it started, but for as long as I can remember he’s been the kind of guy who gets teary over everything from the moment the bus driver moved the bus at the end of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to the moment he first heard the news that he was going to be a grandpa. It’s one of my favorite things about him: that he’s not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve.

I’ve been saving these two recipes for August because it’s the month of my birth and I sort of feel like if you’re going to eat this much bread and butter and cheese in one sitting, it better be because you’re celebrating something major. My dad always makes these croutons and this bread with his chicken caesar salad, and for most of my life this meal was what I requested for my birthday dinner.

When my siblings and I were kids, my parents always made sure that our birthdays were extra special occasions. Every year, first thing in the morning, there were gifts and a birthday card on the kitchen table and most years there were parties with cake and ice cream and family and friends. We weren't rich, but my mom and dad always made sure that birthdays felt like celebrations.

One year - I was eight or nine - we took a summertime family vacation to Breckenridge, where I fell in love with a pair of teddy bears in a souvenir shop. They were dressed as a bride and groom, and grossly overpriced. I pleaded to have both, but my parents said no. They told me to choose just one, because that was all we could afford. I picked the bride because she was prettier, but I just knew she would be lonely.

When my birthday rolled around later that summer, the one gift I remember opening was the teddy bear groom, which my mom had snuck back to the shop to buy. I was so excited when I realized what it was, my overjoyed reaction brought tears to my dad's eyes. I can still remember how special I felt.

Croutons

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of butter, melted

1/4 cup of olive oil

Minced garlic to taste (1-2 cloves)

1 loaf of dense bread like sourdough (day-old is best), chopped into 1 inch cubes

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

Garlic salt to taste

Seasoned salt to taste

Directions:

1. Combine the butter, oil, and minced garlic.

2. Pour half of the butter mixture over the bread and toss it, then pour the other half and toss it again.

2. Coat the bread in parmesan cheese and toss it again.

3. Coat the bread in paprika and toss it again.

4. Season the bread with garlic salt and seasoned salt and toss it one last time.

5. Spread the bread into an even layer on a baking sheet and bake at 275-300 for 90-120 minutes. According to my dad: "The idea is to dry em out and brown em." So that's what you're looking for.

 

Garlic Cheese Bread 

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter, melted

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 loaf of French or sourdough bread, sliced in half lengthwise

1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Butter it and bake at 300 for 15 min

Directions

1) Mix the butter and garlic, cover it, and refrigerate overnight.

2) Butter both sides of the bread and bake it at 300 for 15 minutes.

3) Mix the two cheeses together and sprinkle on the bread, making sure to go all the way to the edges.

4) Put the bread back in the oven for 15 more minutes. The cheese should bubble, but not get brown.

5) Let the bread sit for at least 5-10 minutes before slicing it. According to my dad: "It'll just goo apart if you try to cut it right away." (I believe "goo apart" is a term borrowed from the French.)  

One of my goals for 2014 is to write one “Have At It” post per month, to include a story from my dad’s life with one of his recipes. I figure if nothing else, it will give me some motivation to get serious about getting my dad’s stories down, even if I have to write them myself. 

Previous Have At It Posts:

Chicken Caesar Salad

Reese's Rice Krispie Treats

Tacos and Salsa

Dutchbabies

Bean Dip Poppers

Goldrush Cookies

These Are My People

When we decided to make the trek to Chipotle for lunch after church on Sunday, I was excited. I hadn't eaten Chipotle since before leaving Denver over two months ago, and I was craving a burrito. Just as we were finishing up our lunch, Casey Askew (of So You Think You Can Dance fame) walked in and stood in line. I contemplated leaving without saying anything to him, but I knew my sisters would never let me live it down if I did. I sent a group text to my two sisters, my cousin Calee, and our friend Janell, hoping they'd peer pressure me into talking to him. The following is what transpired.

Me: You guys. Casey is in the same Chipotle as me RIGHT NOW.

Calee: SHUT YOUR FACE!!!!! Can you take a photo?!?

Janell: sytycd Casey?!!?

Calee: I'm watching him dance RIGHT NOW!

Janell: ask him to turn for you; ask him what Cat Deeley smells like

Calee: And then video it!!

Amy: OMG be a superfan!!!!!!!! Take a pic!!!

Janell: Ask him to get Ade's number for me!!!

Kate: yessshhhhg Take a pic!!!!!

Calee: I'm so jealous!!

Janell: Why isn't he in LA? I'm so confused? Is #caseyheadedwest?

Amy: Ask him how Twitch does it and if he can please steal Mary Murphy's pinky ring for me.

Janell: I LOVE US!!!!!

Calee: AND CASEYYYYYYY!!

Janell: Jenny you have to respond!! What is happening?? Are you getting a blog worthy story?!?!?

Calee: This long pause from Jenny better have a great outcome.

Kate: Please Lord get a pic!!! #sundayselfie

Calee: If he is dancing in Chipotle and you are not filming it, I will be so sad.

Calee: Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Kate: Omggggaaaaaaaaaaahhhh

Me: He's from Seattle, just home for a couple days, then back to LA for the finale, then on tour!!! He was so sweet!

Janell: Your face is so amazing!!!! bahahahahahaha! This is the best!!!

Kate: Yes this is the best!!!!

I think what I actually said to Casey was: "Are you Casey? I'm a huge fan. Way to go this season. And in your whole life. You're a star." So not only did I get to eat a Chipotle burrito for lunch, I got to meet a dance superstar and share my excitement with some of my favorite ladies. It was a good day.  

Oh, and be sure to watch the season 11 finale! Tomorrow on Fox at 8/7 central.

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Hey hey! Happy Friday. I snapped this photo almost two weeks ago when we went to Discovery Park while Janell was here visiting. Do you see the baby seal? I wanted to get a shot of his face, but I didn't want to get too close. If you come for a visit, we'll take you to this little spot - no guarantee you'll spot a seal, but there's a pretty cool lighthouse. I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite things from The Internet lately - just for you. Enjoy!    

This and this and this from David Simon, on Ferguson and civic responsibility.

Dance is magical, you guys. Just ask these kids

This one's for you, Janell.

I'm sure most Colorado parents say to themselves, "I understand the need to keep track of student proficiency in ways that are quantifiable and comparable, which is the main reason I'm going to make sure my kid is in school for the state-mandated standardized testing." Woof.

Tom Hanks is the coolest.